[lit-ideas] Re: The Life and Death of Wittgenstein

  • From: Robert Paul <rpaul@xxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sat, 16 May 2009 10:55:09 -0700

Donal writes

As a glance at the Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society would show, British philosophers often 
deploy the convention of speaking of long past philosophers as if they were still living - hence 
"Plato says...", "Kant says".

Surely this convention can be deployed harmlessly enough and might be defended 
as giving the impression that all philosophers, past and present, may be 
treated as participants in the same on-going conversation.

It isn't only British philosophers who do this; when we say, e.g., 'Plato says a polis is a soul writ large,' we're using the literary present, which, although a convention is no more conventional than any other rule of composition. 'Plato WROTE the Republic. In it, he SAYS that the elements of the just man's psyche are in harmony.'

JL surely knows this. His objections are factitious. Or facetious. Or fanciful.

Robert Paul
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